by Carolyn Bertram-Arnold
anticipated like spring picnics in the park for town kids.
The air felt crisp as line-dried cotton sheets,
but smelled of dying leaves and earth.
My younger brother and I slowly filled five-pound plastic
lard buckets while Dad and Mom filled large metal buckets.
We often paused to crack a hickory nut with a rock
and dig out the luscious kernels with our fingers.
When we picked up black walnuts, our hands
were stained a yellowish brown for a week.
We didn't mind a little stain
when we tasted Mom's apple walnut cake.
We also gathered persimmons after the first frost.
My love for the seed-filled fruit often caused me
to sample them too early. There's nothing like
a green persimmon pucker to make my eyes water!
When I see hickory nuts, walnuts or persimmons on the ground,
I'm transported back to happier times of childhood.
My mouth waters, but mostly it's my eyes.
And I haven't tasted a green persimmon in years.
Nowadays, I hunt only for memories in fall.
I long to gather them up by handfuls and put them in lard buckets.
I want to squirrel them away in secret corners to crack open
when the snow flies. Then I can savor each morsel in private.
A Blanket and a Book
Winter fogs my kitchen window
with its frosty breath.
My maples shiver until
the backyard is a tawny patchwork.
Through bare limbs I reclaim my view
of Lake Cumberland hidden since April.
Unprepared for winter in October
I grab a blanket and a book.
Carolyn Bertram-Arnold has published more than 75 poems, stories, personal essays, and photos in regional magazines and anthologies. A few poems have been in national publications. She is presently working on a collection tentatively titled "Persimmon Poetry" in which "Hunting Memories" will be a part. She lives a quiet, simple life with her husband/soulmate Jack in Livingston, Kentucky.
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